Summertime in Maine has a magical quality. Its weather is warm, not hot, and days are spent in the sun. The season is defined by its sounds and scents – the roar of waves crashing in the ocean, the seaweed baking on the rocky coast, the Clam Shack frying clams down the street, and the symphony of crickets and frogs at night. The days are long and slow, and at times it seems like the clocks might be spinning backwards.
Yes, Chicago summers are wonderful, but they are empty of the things that I remember from my childhood. Chicago’s summers lack the element of magic. In Maine, the sky is filled with stars so bright that you feel like you might be able to pluck them from the sky by hand. You feel so small, and yet so full of wonder for the world around you. Chicago’s skyline is gorgeous, but the effect is much different.
Recently my husband and I, along with my family, spent 4 days in Maine, and I think (hope) that Charles was charmed by Maine’s magic. It was Charles’s first time in Maine at the height of summer, and his first time venturing outside of my hometown; the purpose of the trip was to attend a wedding in Boothbay Harbor. (Congrats Abby and Alec!!)
We arrived in my hometown, Kennebunk, on Friday afternoon after taking a cab, a train, a plane, a bus, and finally a car to my parents’ house. All in all, it was a six hour journey from Chicago. Once we made it to Maine, we ate, and we ate a lot. We ate so much, that I don’t really know where to begin. I suppose the place to start is in Boothbay Harbor, a seaside town two hours north from Kennebunk.
My family arrived in Boothbay Harbor right at lunchtime and we were all hungry. Not knowing the area, we turned to Yelp for a suggestion. Dunton’s Doghouse was a Yelp win. The roadside stand had a large menu and impressive food. The Graham Fam gobbled up every bit of the lobster rolls, crab rolls, fried clams, hotdogs, cheese dogs, fish sandwiches, chicken bacon ranch sandwiches, and french fries we ordered. Dunton’s was definitely more of a local hangout, the other patrons were on their lunch break. We were glad we opted for Dunton’s instead of one of the more touristy waterside restaurant. Plus, since we had a pup with us our options were limited.
We might have eaten quite a bit at lunch, but when we walked by Downeast Ice Cream, we had to stop in. I ordered by all-time favorite ice cream flavor Coffee Heath Bar, in a giant chocolate dipped cone. It was so irresistible that my sister who “didn’t want an ice cream” stole a few bites. Suddenly it was time to great ready for the wedding, which was held at a local marina.
The party ended with an hour long boat ride through the harbor. The night before the wedding the bride and groom met a local steel drum player, and hired him to play on the boat. He was amazingly talented and really fun to listen to. If you happen to be looking for a steel drum player in Maine, his name is Ben Betts (firstname.lastname@example.org). (photo via instagram.com/everyonegetslaid)
Lucky for us, it was only a short walk from the harbor back to our hotel.
Charles and I stayed at a charming inn that served a killer breakfast: The Thistle Inn. The Thistle Inn has been around since 1850, and its central location made it the perfect place for us to stay. The rooms were cozy and the downstairs restaurant and bar seemed like it might have been unchanged since the inn opened, and I mean this in the best way possible. It was like stepping into a bit of Maine’s history. How gorgeous is that sliding red farmdoor?!
We feasted on eggs benedict with crab, crispy pancetta, and freshly baked bread before we headed back to Kennebunk. My brother was really jealous when he discovered that we were staying at The Thistle Inn because the breakfast is so good (and apparently better than the breakfast where he was staying). It was a lovely end to an all too brief trip to Boothbay Harbor.
Have I convinced you to visit Maine yet?